Leadership and the Enneagram

Leadership excellence is one of the most critical challenges facing organizations today. Most top leaders leave their positions in three years or less under duress, even when they have had highly successful track records in previous jobs. Companies across the globe are in leadership succession crises, trying to find and/or develop sufficient leadership talent.

Why is it so difficult to find great leaders? One reason is that an individual's prior leadership skills may not transfer to a new leadership position, company, or industry. Another factor involves the demands placed on today's leaders. With a constantly changing business environment, a global marketplace, and the need both to get products to market quickly and to create sustainable organizations for the long run, today's leaders are faced with confounding ambiguities and competing priorities. However, perhaps the biggest reason for the leadership shortage today is that we are not even sure what truly great leadership is, much less how to develop it.

The Enneagram provides an unparalleled way to enhance leadership capabilities and to do so across the globe. It can show leaders their implicit leadership paradigms – mental models and assumptions about what effective leaders should do – highlighting both the leadership strengths that develop from these paradigms and the possible areas that will eventually derail leaders unless they make the choice to develop these. This is because your leadership paradigms indicate what you think is important and so you pay attention to and become proficient in these areas. Equally important is what is not in your paradigm of leadership; this is an area in which you are likely to be less skilled because you pay less attention to them. The nine leadership paradigms and the resultant strengths and derailers are described in the first part of this section.

The Enneagram also shows you what leadership talents you should honor in yourself and offers you specific development activities to accelerate your leadership growth and potential. These are outline in the second part of this section.

Finally, the Enneagram can be used to develop specific leadership competencies. The Enneagram is really a 21st century technology that can be used to create 21st century leaders across the globe. The seven core leadership competencies are described in detail in the third part of this section.


The 9 Leadership Paradigms: The Leadership Strengths and Potential Derailers

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Please click a number to see the information for the corresponding style.


Enneagram Style One Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to set clear goals and inspire others to achieve the highest quality.
    Areas of Strength
    Leads by example
    Strives for quality
    Pursues perfection
    Organized
    Consistent
    Perceptive
    Honest
    Practical
    Potential Derailers
    Reactive
    Overly critical
    Defensive when criticized
    Often unaware of deep anger
    Detail-focused
    Controlling
    Opinionated
    Impatient
Enneagram Style Two Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of team members and motivate and facilitate people toward the achievement of organizational goals.
    Areas of Strength
    Develops excellent
       relationships
    Empathic
    Supportive and generous
    Optimistic
    Likable
    Responsible and hardworking
    Has insight into others' needs
    Able to motivate others
    Potential Derailers
    Enraged when others are
       mistreated
    Has difficulty saying no
    Angry when unappreciated
    Unaware of own needs
    Overemphasizes relationships
    Indirect
    Overextends in doing for others
    Unaware of giving to get
       something in return
Enneagram Style Three Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to create an environment that achieves results because people understand the organization's goals and structure.
    Areas of Strength
    Success-oriented
    High energy
    Reads an audience well
    Overcomes problems
    Optimistic
    Entrepreneurial
    Confident
    Achieves results
    Potential Derailers
    Overly competitive
    Not always forthcoming
    Abrupt or rushed
    Hides deep-level feelings
    Becomes overextended
    Impatient with others' feelings
    Believes that my image is my
       true self
    Limited time for
       personal relationships
Enneagram Style Four Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to create organizations that give people meaning and purpose so that they are inspired to do excellent work.
    Areas of Strength
    Inspiring
    Creative
    Introspective
    Expressive
    Intuitive
    Compassionate
    Searches for excellence
    Seeks meaning through
       interpersonal connections
    Potential Derailers
    Intense
    Self-conscious
    Moody
    Easily bored
    Guilt-ridden
    Difficulty accepting criticism
    Aloof
    Deeply critical of others
Enneagram Style Five Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to develop an effective organization through research, deliberation, and planning, so that all systems fit together and people are working on a common mission.
    Areas of Strength
    Analytic
    Insightful
    Objective
    Systematic
    Plans thoroughly
    Excellent in crises
    Persistent
    Expert
    Potential Derailers
    Detached
    Aloof
    Overly independent
    Unassertive
    Underemphasizes relationships
    Doesn't share information
    Stubborn
    Critical of others
Enneagram Style Six Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to solve organizational problems by developing a creative problem-solving environment in which each person feels that he or she is part of the solution.
    Areas of Strength
    Responsible
    Practical
    Collaborative
    Strategic
    Sharp intellect
    Persevering
    Anticipates issues or problems
    Loyal to company and employees
    Potential Derailers
    Worrying
    Dislikes ambiguity
    "Analysis paralysis"
    Reactive
    Self-sacrificing
    Overly cautious or overly risk taking
    Overly compliant or overly defiant
    Projects own thoughts onto others
Enneagram Style Seven Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to get people excited and to create innovative ventures so that the organization can take advantage of new and important business opportunities.
    Areas of Strength
    Imaginative and creative
    Enthusiastic
    Curious
    Engaging
    Multitasking
    Upbeat
    Quick thinker
    Able to connect disparate data
    Potential Derailers
    Impulsive
    Unfocused
    Rebellious
    Avoids painful situations
    Inconsistent empathy for others
    Reactive to negative feedback
    Dislikes routine
    Rationalizes negative experiences
Enneagram Style Eight Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to move the organization forward by leading decisively, getting capable and reliable people into the right jobs, and empowering competent people to take action.
    Areas of Strength
    Direct
    Highly strategic
    Overcomes obstacles
    Energetic
    Protective of others
    Moves projects forward
    Supports others' success
    Self-confident and authoritative
    Potential Derailers
    Controlling
    Demanding
    Impatient
    Agitated with a slow pace
    Disdains weakness
    High expectations of self and others
    Feels used when others do not
       perform to expectations
Enneagram Style Nine Leadership Paradigm: A leader's job is to help achieve the collective mission by creating a clearly structured and harmonious work environment.
    Areas of Strength
    Diplomatic
    Easygoing
    Consistent
    Inclusive and collaborative
    Develops lasting relationships
    Patient
    Supportive of others
    Assimilates the big picture by way
       of operational details
    Potential Derailers
    Avoids conflict
    Unassertive
    Forgets priorities
    Procrastinates
    Indecisive
    Uncertain
    Low energy
    Passive-aggressive when pressured


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Leaders of Each Enneagram Style: Their Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development



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Enneagram Style One:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest Gift: The pursuit of excellence
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Development Ideas:
Delegate more and include the whole job, not just the parts.
Have more fun on the job.
Strive for 80-90% excellence, not 120%.
Notice positive aspects of people and events.
Be more flexible.
Enneagram Style Two:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest Gift: Motivation and service to others
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Development Ideas:
Be more objective (less feelings) and focus more on strategy
   and less on people.
Learn how to say no; take care of yourself.
Help your organisation and your employees to be less dependent on you.
Enneagram Style Three:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: Obtaining results
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Development Ideas:
Be more human; pay attention to the human influence each time you make
   a decision.
Be less competitive – not everything is a competition you have to win.
Tell the whole truth about yourself, we want to see YOU and not an image.
Enneagram Style Four:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: The pursuit of one's passion
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Development Ideas:
Focus less on your self and more on others.
Be less intensive both in content, length, and the way you express it.
Learn to forgive and let go.
Enneagram Style Five:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: Objectivity
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Development Ideas:
Act more, think less.
Be more aware of social relations and were to exert your influence.
Focus on the interdependence of your team; help your team optimize
   the internal deliveries and increase the coordination.
Be more attentive.
Enneagram Style Six:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: Insight and planning
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Development Ideas:
Learn how to manage your reactions towards authorities.
Learn how to handle your concerns.
Cultivate valuable opponents both among superiors and employees.
Enneagram Style Seven:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: Innovation and flexibility
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Development Ideas:
Slow down 50%, both in speaking, breathing, and acting.
Find the truth in the feedback and learn from it.
Finish all your assignments, don't start on an assignment you wont finish.
Learn how to keep your focus on one thing at a time.
Enneagram Style Eight:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: Making important things happen
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Development Ideas:
Never shout at work!
Be careful with accusations, be cautious with your tone of voice,
   the way you ask questions.
Consider opposite points of view – Whom and what do I not listen to?
Learn how to manage your need for control.
Enneagram Style Nine:
Greatest Gift and Ideas for Development
    Greatest gift: Inclusion and consensus
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Development Ideas:
Pay attention to the most important, accentuate only the
   main points when you speak.
Move things away from your desk by delegating more.
Learn how to manage your tendency to postpone things.
Be more assertive.


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Leadership Competency Model: Seven Core Leadership Competencies


leadership competency model
Click on a section to see the corresponding leadership competency information.


Excellent leaders need to have strong capabilities in the seven core competency areas seen on the Leadership Competency Model above.

To learn more about each competency, click on the specific competency and it will show you a graphic of the competency and explain the competency in more detail.

Development activities for all seven leadership competencies for leaders of each Enneagram style are available in the Enneagram Learning Portal.

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